Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #109, August 1986: Sigourney Weaver Battles Aliens Again

Sigourney Weaver's Ripley returns to center stage this issue with James Cameron's Alien sequel, Aliens. This was arguably the biggest movie of this time period, and it would feature heavily in Starlog's coverage for quite a few issues. (That was helped, possibly, by the magazine publishing two official Aliens magazines. They certainly had the access and the materials.)

There's also a movie advertisement on the inside front cover for Solarbabies, which was not going to be the biggest movie of this time period. The most significant thing about it is that the ad lists its executive producer as being none other than Mel Brooks.

Starlog #109
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $2.95

On page 51 of this issue is one of those things that makes editors and publishers grind their teeth and pull out their hair. No, it's not the picture of Michael Jackson saluting; that's another matter. It's the half-page of blank space below it. Complete white. One can only assume that an advertisement or a half-page article dropped off the page somewhere along in production. In the editing process? Art directing? Production? Proofing? Processing and printing?

The rundown: In his From the Bridge column, Kerry O'Quinn gets political again by ruminating on political liberty and the Statue of Liberty; Communications letters include more on the controversy surrounding Gene Roddenberry's interview in issue #100 (in which he went off on religion), favorable reaction to the Roddy McDowell interview in #101, and more; and Medialog includes David McDonnell's roundup of genre news (such as John Malkovich being cast to play an android in Making Mr. Right), an unbylined item on a possible Greatest American Hero revival, and Lee Goldberg on a Mission: Impossible movie.

Steve Swires quizzes John Carpenter about his latest movie, Big Trouble in Little China; Ian Spelling (already becoming something of the Star Trek specialist he would one day be) interviews actor George Takei; Fan Network includes Daniel Dickholtz on the question of whether Star Wars fandom is dead, queries from readers (such as, "Who played the succession of younger Spocks in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock?"), and more; Kim Howard Johnson profiles Melanie Griffith about her role in Cherry 2000; the legendary writer L. Sprague de Camp writes about "Silent Specters, Spiders & Sauropods" in the Other Voices guest column; William Rabkin profiles actress Ally Sheedy about Short Circuit (plus a sidebar in which she talks about her role in WarGames); Lee Goldberg interviews actor Tom Skerritt, who talks The Dead Zone, SpaceCamp, and Alien; Adam Pirani interviews Skerritt's former co-star, Sigourney Weaver, who is reviving her Ripley character in Aliens; David Hutchison's Videolog chronicles anime videos plus other new releases; Edward Gross talks with Superman IV writers Larry Konner and Mark Rosenthal; Adam Pirani completes his two-part talk with Labyrinth creator Jim Henson (this is your chance to see David Bowie in a fright wig); the Future Life pages include Scott Zachek with more space camp details, Rich Kolker on a computerized look at the Statue of Liberty, and a completely blank half-page of nothingness (maybe a statement on the meaninglessness of life, or – more in keeping with Starlog's be-creative outlook on life – perhaps an invitation to readers to create their own article?); Lee Goldberg goes behind the scenes of Wes Craven's Deadly Friend; William Rabkin explores The Flight of the Navigator; Brian Lowry talks to the people behind Solarbabies; Lee Goldberg goes on location with the film Hyper Sapien; Chris Henderson rounds up the new print releases in Booklog; and David McDonnell gives some behind-the-scenes magazine news in his LIner Notes column.
"[Robert E.] Howard got his ideas of Roman orgies, oriental palaces, and medieval castles from the lavish sets that enhanced the movies of the '20s. He particularly admired The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923, Universal), which he says he saw several times. it featured Lon Chaney, Sr., in fearsome makeup as Quasimodo, and a great battle with Parisian proletarians whacking armored knights with sledge hammers."
–L. Sprague de Camp, writer, Other Voices: "Silent Specters, Spiders & Sauropods"
To view previous Starlog issue descriptions, click on "Starlog Internet Archive Project" in the keywords below or visit the Starlog Project's permanent home.
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